Tendon transfer surgery is a procedure during which a tendon is shifted from its original attachment to a new one (see figure above). There are many reasons that this procedure may be necessary. Your hand surgeon will determine if this is the right surgery for you. Here are four potential reasons for tendon transfer surgery:
- Nerve Injuries: If a nerve is injured and cannot be repaired, it no longer sends signals to certain muscles, which paralyzes those muscles. This surgery can make those muscles work again. An example of this is a spinal cord injury.
- Muscle Injuries: If a muscle has been cut or broken and cannot be repaired, this surgery can help. A tendon can rupture due to something like Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Disorder of the Nervous System: Sometimes, a disease may prevent nerve signals from being sent to muscles. Examples are cerebral palsy and a stroke. Tendon transfer surgery may help.
- Birth Defects: Sometimes, babies are born without certain muscle functions, and this surgery may bring back function.
As with all surgeries, tendon transfer surgery has risks. These can include infection and scarring. After the surgery, it usually takes about two months to heal. Discuss the risks and benefits of this surgery with your hand surgeon. Learn more about tendon transfer surgery on our website, and find a hand surgeon near you.